MN: Health Dept. Criticizes Website Linking Abortion, Breast Cancer
Minnesota Health Department officials are questioning a statement posted on the department's website to comply with a new law asserting that having an abortion increases a woman's risk of breast cancer. According to internal emails obtained by the Star Tribune, a department director named Mary Manning circulated an email memo asking staff to tell anyone who asks that having an abortion does not lead to an increased risk for breast cancer, citing findings by the National Cancer Institute. Despite the fact that Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach is a former Catholic nun who is opposed to legal abortion, she gave Manning permission to circulate the memo, the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio report.
The statement linking abortion and breast cancer was posted on the health department's website, as well as printed in a pamphlet, to comply with the so-called Women's Right to Know Act, a piece of legislation pushed through the state legislature by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). The law requires doctors to provide women seeking an abortion a range of information 24 hours before the procedure. Anti-choice Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) and MCCL were both consulted in the creation of the information to comply with the law, but abortion rights advocates and abortion providers were not consulted, the Star Tribune reports.
Some abortion providers are already reporting problems with the new law. "People express that they feel insulted by the law, they feel offended, women express over and over again, 'I am a mature, capable woman. I have thought long and hard about my decision to have an abortion, I feel it is best for me. I have consulted people who matter in my life...'," Rev. K. George Keaney, manager of the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, told Minnesota Public Radio. Other providers say that the information is inappropriate in some circumstances; for example, women seeking abortions are required to be told that the father has a responsibility to help support the fetus, but this is offensive and inappropriate for rape victims.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .